“Peace came to my heart…. the joy of living came back to my life” Ivory Coast
“ I have learned to love more even to love those that destroyed our village.” Ivory Coast
“ I have learned to help myself with the skills. I can help others with their problems too. I can help my community and neighbors whenever needed.” Haiti
“Thanks to these skills I have learned to reflect. I have learned to persevere and to live with others, nature and more love for all.” Haiti
“ I have learned that no matter your social rank, we are all humans and we can learn to live together…We all need one another to make life more beautiful.” Haiti
The words expressed above have been shared by individuals who have learned the wellness skills of the Community Resiliency Model.
The Community Resiliency Model™ (CRM) of the Trauma Resource Institute trains community members to not only help themselves but to help others within their wider social network. The primary focus of this skills-based, stabilization program is to re-set the natural balance of the nervous system. CRM skills help individuals understand their nervous system and learn to read sensations connected to their own well-being, which CRM calls the “Resilient Zone”. CRM’s goal is to help to create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-focused” communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma and chronic stress on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored or increased using this skills-based approach.
CRM skills have been used worldwide in varied locations, including the Philippines, Mexico, Haiti, China, the United States, Kenya, Darfur, the Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Japan, Uganda, Somalia and Guatemala. CRM are the wellness skills of the Trauma Resiliency Model®. CRM training has been offered to the Wounded Warrior Chronic Pain Clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Annual Conference in San Diego. The Department of Defense named the wellness skills a promising practice in 2011.
CRM has largely been used with individuals and communities, marginalized either by economic challenges, ethnicity, natural and human-made disasters. Applying CRM proactively with an entire community or neighborhood that is chronically stressed can alleviate the symptoms of chronic stress placing the community and its members in a better position to change their situation by increasing their resiliency. There is a substantial and growing evidence base for the efficacy of CRM in reducing anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms and hostility indicators (State of California, Mental Health Act, CRM Innovation Project, 2013). CRM is research informed and further developing its evidence.
Goals of CRM™
- To learn simple biologically based skills, based upon current neuroscience, to help individuals get back into balance in body, mind and spirit.
- To educate about common reactions resulting from individual or communal traumas/stresses such as poverty, racism and family violence.
- To reduce common human reactions related to stressful/traumatic experiences.
- To shift perceptions that reactions are biological rather than mental weakness in order to reduce shame and increase hope.
- To encourage individuals to integrate wellness skills into their daily life.
CRM is an example of “Appropriate Technology,” a term which is defined as “technology that ordinary people can use for their own benefit and the benefit of their communities, that doesn’t make them dependent on systems over which they have no control” (J.Turner). A CRM Skills Trainer in North Carolina, Susanne Walker-Wilson, called CRM, “The democratization of mental health.”
Providing educational materials such as the iChill app available for smart phones and PCs and MACs to support a community-oriented approach is an important way we promote independence as well as education about the biology of the human body and how it responds to traumatic events and most importantly, how to restore or enhance resiliency.
TRI implemented a State of California, Mental Health Services Act project in San Bernardino County, CA through its Department of Behavioral Health Innovations Department, which organized CRM county wide via a Train-the-Trainer program. Community members from 7 underserved groups (designated by the Department of Behavioral Health) participated in training to become CRM Skills trainers. The 3-year project completed December 31, 2013. Due to early successes in year 1, TRI received an extension to the Innovations Funding, which provided CRM training and a Train-the-Trainer program to 44 active duty service members, veterans and their families. The research has demonstrated a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and hostility at statistically significant levels. Over 80% of participants were people of color. Go to Research tab for more information about ongoing research.
TRI conducts CRM Skills Train the Trainer workshops in order to create capacity in local communities. Communities throughout the world are encouraged to infuse their unique cultural lens in order to increase the efficacy of the CRM Skills. CRM workshops have been offered in many languages and the materials are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Somali, 4 dialects of the Philippines, Japanese, Simple Chinese, Kreyole. Translations are underway for French, German, Swahili and Kurdish.
In the United States, Vera House in Syracuse, New York, Peace over Violence in Los Angeles and the Center for Community Solutions in San Diego, three organizations that are leaders in healing families effected by domestic violence sponsored trainings. In North Carolina, MAHEC sponsored the first Community Resiliency Model Train the Trainer on the East Coast. TRI trainers have completed trainings for OnCare and Headstart for the Syracuse New York Community. Loma Linda University, through their partnership with TRI, has conducted trainings in Trinidad, St. Vincent and Japan. They are in the planning stages for more trainings in Africa through their association with ADRA International to reach out to those impacted by Ebola. Go to Projects tab to see more information.
The following are statements made by community members who participated in Community Resiliency Model trainings:
Testimonial from a graduate of the CRM Training
“… Beginning to learn the wellness skills called the Community Resiliency Model of TRM skills has shown me that
(1) Human responses to trauma, even if severe and complex, are natural biology, not deviant psychopathology;
(2) Brain science and neurophysiology provide helpful concepts for individuals of any educational level to use as tools in healing work.
(3) Our own senses are the most valid, reliable indicators of the effects of trauma, and of the coping and healing resources we need for recovery.
(4) Trauma and post traumatic stress can be faced with hope, rather than avoided, feared and denied.
(5) When entire communities are affected by trauma, coordination and collaboration are important as well as access to resources.
(5) Sensory experiencing is an effective way to engage, motivate, and support recovery from any kind of trauma.
In addition, this and future training groups are going to be a very important ongoing resource for our community. Already inclusive of providers and lay people in many different fields such as psychotherapy, crisis intervention, law enforcement, military and veterans’ services, academia, and health care, we can reach out further. I am hoping we can reach clergy, child welfare workers, social workers, and paraprofessionals such as parent partners and peer mentors in many other areas.” Peter Swords, NY
For more information, contact TRI to learn how to bring Community Resiliency Model Trainings to your community.